The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 07-02-11

Posted on July 11th, 2011 at 7:51 pm by

Meeting with Vineyard Church Ministers

The June 22nd meeting between Pastor Ken Wilson, Associate Pastor Donell Wyche and two members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends was successful from the standpoint of respectfully exchanging opposing opinions. It was revealed that prior to this writer’s forced expulsion from the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County, Pastor Wilson refused to join the group, fearing association with one who “crossed the line of civility” by protesting outside a house of worship. And it was the unfounded fear of having Vineyard Church “picketed” that promoted our four-person meeting in the first place.

Fear of being picketed is an odd position to arrive at. JWPF threatens no one, and has only the truth and our 1st Amendment rights at our disposal. Pastors Wilson and Wyche were appraised of the origin of our vigils, and of their potential role in ending them, i.e. negotiating meetings with Rabbi Dobrusin and the Board of Directors of Beth Israel Congregation. It did not appear, however, that such efforts from Vineyard would be initiated in the near future.

Photographer Skip Schiels Visits our Vigils

On June 18th we were surprised by the occupant in Vigiler S’s car who turned out to be Skip Schiels of Teeksa Photography. Skip toured Gaza last winter and posted photographs of the trip. On the 18th he participated in our vigil and was able to take photographs of our group at work. One young Jewish man had some questions, and we provided him with answers and challenges to his long-held myths. Skip filmed the exchange and remarked that the manner in which we conversed with this young man conflicted with his pre-visit impression of our vigils. We feel that we’ve made a new friend in this Quaker, and hope to have more opportunities to engage him. See his photos, which he’s labeled “Palestine Vigil” here.

Are Attitudes Changing at Michigan Peaceworks?

Two members of JWPF attended a rally by Michigan Peaceworks on June 24th to raise public awareness of the flotilla of boats (one from the Zionist occupied United States) then planning to challenge the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza. Prior to the event, we were appraised by Administrative Director Jennifer Chapin-Smith that signs would be provided, and a decision was made to go with the program.

Halfway through the demonstration, Vigil Supporter L noticed that the word missing from all the signs was “Israel”, and pointed out that passersby would have no way to connect the flotilla with the crimes of Apartheid Israel without signs such as our “Israel Commits Atrocities” being present. When asked about this lapse, Jen claimed that “They wouldn’t let us use the word ‘Israel’ on the signs”. They? See photos here.

Echoes from the past resounded: Nine years ago Jewish leaders of the group that was to become Michigan Peaceworks warned this writer about “playing the blame game”. In other words, let’s feel the Palestinians’ pain, but not focus on the source of that pain. Has Michigan Peaceworks grown, or will they fall prey once again to Left Zionist influence from within? We hope to schedule a coffee with Jen soon to resolve these questions.

Rev. Pinkney Attends Vigil

As Michigan’s economy continues its downward trend, Emergency Financial Managers (EFM) are being sent by Governor Rick Snyder to cities such as Benton Harbor and usurping control of local, democratically-elected governments. Standing tall against such takeovers are the Pinkneys, Ed and Dorothy, and despite their busy schedules, they found time to link Benton Harbor’s resistance to racism with Palestine’s resistance. They boosted our vigil attendance to twelve on July 2.

Rev. Pinkney and BANCO are planning a demonstration against the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour when it hosts the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores of Lake Michigan in 2012. Course designer Jack Nicklaus apparently ignored efforts by the Pinkneys to draw to his attention the fact that three holes have been built on stolen land. Jean Klock Park was raided by Whirlpool Corporation and developer Cornerstone using “influenced” City Commissioners to commit the crime. We thank Ed and Dorothy for this heads-up and for their continued support of our efforts in Ann Arbor. Ed will sign “Religious Leaders Support Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends”, link to document here .

For more information on the theft of Jean Klock Park land, please see

Computer Woes

Was it a Trojan Horse, a worm, a virus or a common cold? Anybody’s guess, but the bottom line was no e-mail communications for three weeks, and the problems continue…

June 18: Nine vigilers
June 25: Eight
July 2: Twelve
Justice for Palestine is Justice for All
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

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